Prior to his death, 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez suffered disturbing abuse at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, according to a testimony that his brother delivered on Wednesday.

According to Gabriel’s brother, Ezequiel, the child was pepper sprayed and forced to eat cat feces before he was eventually killed. Ezequiel, who is now 16, was only 12 years old when his little brother was murdered. Isauro Aguirre is on trial for the crime and Ezeqiuel outlined a daily routine of beatings and abuse that occurred for months and the coroner said that Gabriel’s skull was cracked and there were BB pellets in his lungs, CBS reports.

The courtroom was silent as the teen recalled specific instances, saying “My mom and her boyfriend made Gabriel eat spoiled stuff or expired stuff. One thing I remember is expired spinach. He threw it up, and they made him eat it off the table.” Ezequiel said his mother and Aguirre threatened him if he told anybody about the beatings. He also claimed that they laughed while they beat his little brother.

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Ezequiel recalled the day his brother died, saying his mother and her boyfriend beat Gabriel until he was bloody then dragged him into their room. He says he heard screams and bangs from behind the door before the house fell silent. His sister, Virginia, said that “they threw him in the shower … and when he didn’t wake up, my mother decided to call the police.” So many people in the courtroom were crying that the judge had to call for a break, ABC 7 reports.

Aguirre’s attorney says that he admits to the beatings and claims that he did it because the child told his mother to leave her boyfriend, KTLA reports. He is charged with special circumstance of torture. Gabriel’s mother has a separate trial for crimes related to the abuse.

Alex Thomas About the author:
Alex is from Delaware. He lives in DC.
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